10 Reasons Why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Is Useful For Self-Defense

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is widely viewed as one of the best martial art to learn for self-defense for various reasons, like allowing smaller fighters to use leverage to defeat larger opponents. BJJ is a derivative of traditional Japanese Jiu-Jitsu that evolved to emphasize ground fighting thanks to members of the Gracie family.

BJJ has been proven effective in real-life scenarios countless times, and Royce Gracie showcased how good it was against other martial artists in mixed martial arts. Royce won three of the first four Ultimate Fighting Championship tournaments, tapping out everyone he encountered. Royce’s impressive performances during the early days of mixed martial arts are credited for the massive popularity BJJ enjoys today.

BJJ is no longer as dominant in mixed martial arts today as it once was, but that’s only because virtually every MMA fighter spends lots of time learning it, which makes it easier for them to defend against the many chokes, sweeps, reversals, and joint locks used in BJJ.

This article will examine why anyone wanting to learn how to defend themselves should sign up for BJJ classes before considering other martial arts.


Ten Reasons Why BJJ Is An Excellent Fighting System For Self-Defense

Before going any further into what makes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu great for self-defense, it’s important to state that the best self-defense is always de-escalation and avoiding physical confrontation. That’s because no one really ever wins a fight, so it’s always best to avoid them if you can.

For example, you might successfully fight an attacker off but spend the next few hours trying to clear your name with law enforcement. It’s better to avoid fights as much as possible.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, some of the reasons why BJJ is one of the most effective martial arts for self-defense include:


1) Emphasis On Technique Over Strength

BJJ emphasizes using leverage and technique to dominate opponents instead of sheer physical strength. This makes it an easy martial art for many people to master, regardless of their athleticism, size, and strength. This emphasis on technique and leverage allows smaller people to overcome much larger and stronger opponents.

One excellent example of this is ONE Flyweight MMA World Champion Demetrious Johnson, as seen in the above video, DJ who was visibly smaller as compared to his competitor, submits his Goliath like opponent. This was achieved with technique and control.

That’s the power of BJJ. It gives you a fighting chance against people who are a lot stronger and bigger than you.


2) Emphasis On Realistic Scenarios When Training

Another cool thing about BJJ training is that students drill techniques in realistic scenarios just like in a real fight. For example, students might be told to start with one partner mounted on the other’s back. The mounted student then tries to escape while the other student tries to work their rear-naked choke and armbars.

As a result, BJJ students practice how to defend themselves in realistic scenarios they could find themselves in real life like someone grabbing them from behind and trying to choke them.


3) Best Martial Art For Ground Fighting

While some wrestlers might disagree with this statement, nothing compares to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu regarding self-defense. While BJJ also covers other aspects of fighting, like throws, trips, and takedowns, most of the time spent in the dojo focuses on ground fighting.

As a result, BJJ players are adept at controlling bodies on the ground as they look for submissions.

Unlike other grappling-based martial arts like wrestling, BJJ also strongly emphasizes learning how to fight with your back on the ground. BJJ players use the guard to give themselves an advantage when their backs are on the floor. Many BJJ techniques like triangle chokes, guillotine chokes, Ezekiel chokes, and armbars can be performed from bottom ground positions.

This makes BJJ fighters extremely dangerous even when in positions most people view as disadvantageous.


4) Improves Your Ability To Adapt

A good part of BJJ is learning to “flow with the go.” It’s a combat sport, so you don’t want to be too passive, which is why that famous phrase has been deliberately changed in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu circles. BJJ players are experts at flowing with their opponent’s movements, seamlessly transitioning between positions and submissions based on what their opponent gives them.

This fluidity is crucial in self-defense situations, which can be highly unpredictable. Being able to adjust to whatever the other person is doing is one of the many things BJJ students excel at.


5) Gives You The Skills You Need To Escape And Neutralize Threats

Your primary goal in most self-defense scenarios should be to neutralize or escape the threat you face. BJJ gives you all the tools you need to control and restrain opponents on the ground without causing unnecessary harm.

You also learn many chokes and joint locks you can use to bring any fight to an end from top or bottom ground positions.

The many escapes and reversals you learn while training could come in handy in a self-defense situation if the attacker manages to get on top of you on the ground. Most untrained people are helpless on the ground when an attacker has them pinned down, but BJJ players have many effective ways to escape these positions or reverse them into something more favorable.


6) Improves Your Reflexes And Awareness

After training BJJ for a while, you’ll develop the ability to read your opponent and improve your reflexes.

Training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu helps to improve your reflexes and awareness. Over time, you learn to read your training partner‘s movements and anticipate their subsequent attacks. These skills are invaluable in self-defense scenarios where every second counts.


7) Effective Against Larger, More Powerful Opponents

BJJ’s focus on leverage makes it an effective style for defeating bigger opponents. Taking a fight to the ground is one way to neutralize the advantage a larger opponent has, and BJJ players have many tools to control the attacker and prevent them from getting back up.


8) Allows You To Control And Restrain Attackers Without Using Strikes

Here’s one significant advantage Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has over many striking-based martial arts. There’s no nice way to restrain a person with boxing; you have to punch your attacker into submission. However, that’s not always your goal in self-defense situations.

Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra provided us with an example of how gently BJJ players can control and restrain attackers when his meal was interrupted by a belligerent drunk who was attacking other patrons. Serra kept him restrained until law enforcement showed up while looking bored during the encounter. Other patrons were grateful for the help and the attacker got a lesson in humility without taking any substantial damage.


9) Improves Mental Toughness And Confidence

BJJ World Champion Bismark Gomez shaking hands with a student after a good roll.

BJJ helps both you and your training partner develop mental toughness and confidence as you progress in your journey.

BJJ players get many more full-action sparring sessions than people who train in martial arts like boxing, Muay Thai, or Karate. That’s because of the gentle nature of BJJ and strikes not being allowed.

A typical BJJ class consists of the instructor breaking down techniques that will be drilled that day and students pairing up with each other. Once that’s done, the rest of the class is typically dedicated to rolling.

This means BJJ students get real fight experience whenever they go to the dojo. This helps to build their confidence and mental toughness as they regularly have to compete with other BJJ players, some of whom are more skilled than they are.

The fight experience BJJ players build up often comes in handy in self-defense situations since they are already used to fighting other BJJ students who resist them with all their might. As a result, a fight against an untrained person is typically not much of a challenge for anyone who has trained BJJ for more than a few months.


10) Excellent Complement For Other Martial Arts

BJJ complements striking-based martial arts by teaching ground fighting techniques, while other martial arts focus on stand-up fighting skills.

BJJ skills complement other martial arts like Muay Thai, Karate, Wrestling, and Judo. If you’re starting to get good at BJJ, consider learning a striking-based martial art like Muay Thai to complement your ground fighting skills. That way, you’re comfortable in all aspects of fighting instead of only being good at ground fighting. Most self-defense situations end up on the ground, but being well-rounded increases your odds of succeeding.


BJJ Is An Excellent Base For Self-Defense

Martial arts like Muay Thai, Wrestling, Judo, Sambo, Boxing, and Kickboxing are all effective, but BJJ is undoubtedly the most effective for self-defense. BJJ was tested during the early no-holds-barred days of mixed martial arts and emerged as the most effective fighting system.

You don’t need to be a black belt to be able to defend yourself with BJJ; even a few months of training makes you a better fighter than 90% of people out there. Learn a little striking, and you’re ready to protect yourself and your loved ones from any threats.

Want more self-defense tips? Come train with our world-class instructors during our complimentary introductory BJJ classes.


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